CW for Rape
On April’s Fool’s Day, 1975, Helter Skelter, aired on CBS as I experienced my first rape at the age of 5. My parents had attended a Manson party at my uncle and aunt’s house and brought me along. My rapist was another guest. Besides what he did to me, what I recall most vividly are the pile of coats on the guest bedroom bed, the small black and white television, and the women with swastikas carved on their foreheads. I’ve written about those women before. Girls really. Now, I’d call them girls.
I told my therapist I’d like to stop. The process exhausts me in the short term. It works though. Like magic, like a switch. That intolerable background noise, that violent tinnitus—it almost vanished. I’m learning about embodiment and presence and weaving it together with thought and memory.
Shortly after I said, enough for now, let’s stop, I began to bleed: blood gushed from my gums around my front teeth and poured into the bathroom basin when I brushed and flossed; sex hurt and I grew afraid of the pain and the bleeding. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that attacks my reproductive organs, then with too many red blood cells, and then with abnormal kidney function. My labs aren’t quite what they should be, and I don’t know what my body is trying to tell me.
Was I was bleeding from my mouth when my parents found me in that room in 1975?